Will Occupy OC Rifts Destroy the Anti-Corporate Greed Protests?

Categories: Occupy OC
Fullerton Occ.jpg
Occupied Fullerton
Despite a reputation for raucousness, some 40 Occupy Orange County members gathered quietly outside of Fullerton city hall last night to discuss the future of the local movement after Wednesday's dismantling of Irvine's three-month protest.

While two Occupy leaders outlined negotiations with Fullerton officials about upcoming rallies and a possible encampment site--Brea Dam, the mostly college-aged crowd listened intently and afterwards seemed eager to participate in future protests against corporate abuses.

But the sedate vibe belied increasing bitter tensions inside the movement and speculation amongst Occupiers that personality clashes could soon kill the left-leaning protests.

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Brandon Ferguson
That tension was underscored by a noticeable absence at last night's meeting: D'Marie Mulattieri, who started Occupy Orange County in September through social media such as Facebook and Twitter after watching the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. She helped grow the movement through conference calls and meetings at her house which led to a major victory when the Irvine city council allowed thirty tents to be erected on city property.

"I've dissociated myself from them [current Occupiers]," Mulattieri told me. "Occupy Wall Street is moving toward a Martin Luther King-style protest and basically giving up on occupations." 

Arguing that the long-term protests were never meant to last more than a couple weeks, she says paranoia and infighting wreaked havoc on morale in the Irvine encampment. 

Mulattieri also says Occupy's all-inclusive sentiments may have sped the movement along a downward trajectory.

"It allowed anybody with any kind of ideology to come in and it allowed anarchists to come in and take control," she said.

As a result. the meetings lost structure and the emphasis switched from bringing in weekly speakers to planning ineffective flash mobs. Self discipline was lax among campers, trash began to accrue around the grounds and an undue burden was placed on a few who tried to maintain order.

Irvine police spokesperson Lt. Julia Engen confirms there were two arrests made during the Occupation of the city hall lawn, one involved a 19-year-old Corona man who was arrested for unlawful sex with a minor.

"It needed a little more structure," said Mulattieri. "We started out with the General Assembly rules and as the anarchists started taking control they started changing the rules."

Power grabs and mounting egos pushed away once eager protesters. "A lot of people left by mid-November," she said. "I had nobody to cover my back, so I just kind of quietly withdrew." 

Charles Cha, another Occupy activist who protested in Santa Ana and Irvine, blames Mulattieri for having too much destructive influence over the protests.

"She's hated essentially," said Cha. "She has her cult of minions. There is this group of people who have an irrational allegiance to her. It's creepy."

For Cha, part of the ill will toward Mulattieri boils down to finances and unilateral control. He said, "She essentially held things hostage like the money and the Facebook group."

All told, Mulattieri and Cha say Occupy Irvine brought in roughly $2,400 in donations, more than half of that in cash. Mulattieri's faction controlled the money. Cha said protesters challenged alleged secrecy about the funds. Some even wondered aloud if the money was being properly managed. "Who are they to be the gatekeepers of our money when the will of the assembly is determined?" Cha asked.

As tensions peaked earlier this month, Mulattieri said someone keyed her car and she relinquished control over the money.

Though Cha is now among Occupy Fullerton, it's unclear how much of the bad vibe from Irvine will spill over to the new arrangement. Based on multiple interviews, it's clear that protesters have concerns that internal fighting might soon cause the collapse of the movement in the county.

Despite disassociating herself from her onetime allies, Mulattieri still sympathizes with them--especially because their activities will come under scrutiny by the Fullerton Police Department, which is struggling with a reputation for police brutality.

"I'm praying [the protesters] don't get hurt," said Mulattieri. "That's what we were concerned with in Irvine. Every time I went up there [the Irvine protest camp] I felt like the mother hen, [saying]. 'Don't smoke on the grass,' and they weren't listening. They do whatever the hell they want."
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Lust 4 Life
Lust 4 Life

"Rudy"   I was looking at your comment #2I am interested in the fact about the self employed folks.  I think that you are on to something.  America started as a place that embraced "cottage Industry"  and now it has been hijacked and not evolved, all for the sake of meaningless destructive corporate chaos.  Like my friend says; she is proud to think of herself as Mexican-Amish.   not a pathetic slave.  I love her. she loves me.   Fuck the system!

RudyTorrent
RudyTorrent

As someone who was involved in Occupy Orange County evenbefore they started camping, let me throw in my 2 cents:

1. D'Marie was founder and heart and soul of the movement until it was hijacked by anarchists and delusional retards.  She did the heavy lifting in the beginning, mobilized hundreds of people, and guided the organization until it successfully worked out a deal with the city to camp.

2. Most of the people involved (those that showed up at camp, spoke at the Irvine City Council meetings, and participated in marches) in the first phase of the occupation fit into roughly these demographics:

- White, middle-aged, a majority female.  Most self-employed, retired, or unemployed.  I saw this was roughly 60%.

- Twenty-somethings, recent grads of both genders who were sincere and informed.  Maybe 30%.

- Vegan, anarchist, “hippie” types in their late teens or early twenties.  Most were mild-mannered,passionate, and free spirited.  At first.  More on that later.  Initially maybe 5%.

- A half dozen or so truly homeless or working poor.  Not chronically homeless, just people thatperhaps had hit a rough patch and were living in their cars until they made the camp home.

I think anyone can view the images from those first few demonstrations and see a pretty diverse group of people.

3.  The peak of the movement was when the Irvine City Council agreed to let occupiers stayovernight on October 26th.

4.  For a short while, the camp was a hub of activity, mostly on Saturdays.  D’Marie was actively involved in all aspects of the organization, from dealings with the city to organizingdemonstrations.  She was present at almost every General Assembly.  And shewas involved with the finance committee.

5.  Sometime in mid-November, there was grumbling in the village about “THE MONEY.”  There was a lockbox kept at the camp, and some people had the key.  It was not a big deal.  If someone came by and made a cash donation, and there were many, the money would get to someone who people knew (mostly by word of mouth) could be trusted to put it in the lockbox.  Somehow, word spread about the amount of money collected, and it was estimated to be about three thousand dollars.  By now the culture of the camp had changed, and more “shady” characters seemed to be roming around.  The camp began to get filthy.  General Assemblies were gettingdisorderly.  And some people wanted “THE MONEY.”

6.  A gang of campers that could be called “anarchist, hippies, street people, pot-heads, and just plain weirdos” called a stealth GA on a Saturday morning, and decided they wanted “THEMONEY” and, D’Marie has “THE MONEY” and they were going to GO TO D’MARIE’S HOUSE and forcibly take “THE MONEY.” Cooler heads prevailed, and the issue of “THE MONEY” was dealt with at General Assembly.  Sort of.

7.  By now, the camp was almost 50% “anarchist, hippies, street people, pot-heads, and just plainweirdos.”  Not that anybody is judging.  But the culture had changed.  It was now pretty muchin-your-face anti-military.  One rainy Saturday, a group of passionate anti-war protesters from Military Families Speak Out came to speak at the camp. Many were vets, and had good things to say.  The “freaks” (not that anyone is judging) huddled on the other side of the camp, giggling, smoking, and openly mocking the “idiots who got paid to kill people” (their words).  One guy fired up some sage, an herb with a strong pot-like scent, in the middle of the camp and rudely walked through the “stage” while a Vietnam vet was speaking.

8.  Two homeless people lived at the camp, and one was an Army vet (I’ll refer to him as “J”)who  was rumored to have a drinking problem.  He lived with another homeless lady in a tent(let’s call her “B”), and she maintained the food tent.  She worked hard, but did not tolerate anyinfantile crap from the “vegans” who constantly trashed her pristine food tent.  The “vegans” would also do things like destroy or hide donations of non-vegan food to the camp.  One time someone dropped off a few buckets of KFC, and the vegans purposely left them out in the rain to get soaked.  When J and B asked about the chicken, they were told that they shouldn’t be eating chicken anyway.  Even if they are homeless and hungry.  Nice.

9.  Eventually the tension between J and B and the freaks came to ahead, and there was a physical altercation between one of the vegan campers and B.  J came to B’s defense, and some how the anarchists managed to muster up enough organizational skills to confront J and B and evict them from the village.  They were forced to leave and weren’t even allowed to gather their belongings.

10.  In the meantime, a group of middle-aged ladies went out of their way to defame D’Marie anddefend the actions of the campers, no matter how bizarre and destructive their behavior was.  Smoke a hookah (which looks like a bong to Irvine residents) at the bus stop - no big deal.  Let bags of trash pile up – no big.  Steal and destroy things at the camp – no big deal.  STOP F-ING JUDGING!  HOW DARE YOU!!!!  UNITY!

11.  Emboldened by these “Den Mothers,” the campers (and you couldn’t call them that – they didn’t like it) became insular, aggressive, and paranoid.  You couldn’t post anything on Facebook or a chat room that was the least bit critical of the goings on at the camp, or theywould turn on you.  A Den Mother would call you and berate your for being “Negative.”  Some anarchist freak would post a threat on your Facebook wall.  A delusional vegan would send you a scathing text message.  DON’T F-CK WITH MY FAMILY was usually the gist of these messages.

12.  Knives drawn, they came for D’Marie.  By now almost the entire camp was filled with crazy anarchists, militant vegans, delusional potheads, and sick street people.  She tried to stay engaged, but it was too much.  Other early moderate activists also dropped out. One initial camper, a passionate young Greenpeace activist who had led marches and ventured to Occupy LA and Long Beach, threw his hands up and left, citing the pack of anarchists that dominated the camp.

13.  Once Occupy LA fell, it was all downhill.  An occupier from LA drove his jeep onto to the City Hall lawn and said he every right to park there.  Militant occupiers from LA joined the camp.  GAs were morbid, satanic-like events, with the sounds of the strange rants of “Anonymous” and their digitized voices streaming from computers inside smoky tents, while a sincere moderate pleaded for “UNITY”  in front of a podium. And then there was the issue of “THE MONEY.”

14.  The conclusive divide was made permanent when the city said that the camp would have to go on January 11th, 2012.  By now, the pro-camp crowd made up of the anarchist freaks and Den Mothers controlled the organization.  I apologize to the peaceful “small-a” anarchists who may hold sincere and well thought out beliefs, but these nuts at the camp lived by one motto – IF IT AIN’T BROKE,BREAK IT!  Talk of a peaceful decampment was derided and aggressively confronted by the pro-campers.  They would even leave camp to infiltrate off-site committee meetings to hard black and obstruct any rational efforts.  A Facebook page for “Active Participants” that was used to exchange mundane Occupy OC information (updates on dealings with the city, the location of missing equipment, how to fairly compensate J & B, etc.) was hijacked by an anarchist, renamed to something to do with anarchy, and suddenly no one could post there.  The Den Mothers came out in force to defend the merry pranksters, but even the patient, level-headed lawyer that was representing Occupy Orange County with the city expressed frustration with this belligerent act.

15.  Eventually, the camp packed up, and “THE MONEY” was turned over to one of the professional activists, who then scampered off to Fullerton to piss off that city.  “THE MONEY” that D’Marie supposedly held hostage was rumored to be THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. You see, over the course of the Irvine Occupation, the village would demand cash infusions of about one hundred dollars a day, supposedly for generator fuel and other essentials.  That money came from the donations.  Five hundred dollars was spent on a solar panel bought from Occupy LA, and that promptly found its way into the garage of a some-time camper, who said he was storing it for “safe-keeping.” 

The truly creepy thing is Charles Cha (I am the only that thinks of “2-Buck Chuck” when I say that name?) says "Who are they to be the gatekeepers of our money when the will of the assembly is determined?"

WTF does that mean?  What is this “Assembly”?  Ten freaks on a Saturday morning deciding to go to D’Marie’s house and get “THEMONEY?” 

A general assembly with ten people as the rest of the camp feasts on vegan BBQ and good pot at the park gazebo across the street (like every one of the GAs in the last weeks of the occupation)? 

2-Buck Chuck is being a douche when he talks about D’Marie and her cult of personality.  She didn’t hijack anyone’s Facebook page.  She kept good records with the money, and the lockbox was managed by committee with two keys, one held by a full-time camper. She dropped out of the movement several times, only to come back again, only to get kicked in the teeth by 2-Buck Chuck, his anarchist friends, and their Den Mother enablers. 

Lost in all this was the real reason we all came together – to change this country for the better. At the height of this absurdity, even the most benign activism was stymied.  To give you an example, during one GA, a proposal was made to support efforts to “get the money of politics,”or something like that.  Guess what?

IT WAS HARD BLOCKED.

TheBumsLost
TheBumsLost

You might be an “occupier” if…

…You claim to be for the environment, yet trash the areawhere you are living and protesting.

…You claim you are fighting against greed, yet demandthat all of your debts be forgiven, and that everything you want be given toyou – and paid for by someone else.

…You claim to represent 99% of Americans, but call thehalf that disagree with you “stupid”, and refuse to listen to what they have tosay. 

…You claim you want to participate in the politicalsystem, yet have decided to go to protests instead of going to the polls.

…You spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on college,but didn’t bother to learn any marketable skills.

…You claim you want financial accountability, yet demandthat your own financial obligations be forgiven or repaid for you.

…You claim to be a supporter of civil rights, but don’trespect the rights of anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

…You claim to be against wealthy “fat cats”, yet cheerwhen multimillionaire Michael Moore comes to speak to you.

…You claim that you have a specific platform that mostAmericans agree with, yet whenever anyone shows the ridiculousness of one ofyour demands, you suddenly claim that it’s never been one of your demands. 

…You claim to be against outsourcing of American jobs, yetlive in a tent made by slave laborers in China.

…You claim that the public has the right to be in theparks, but you don’t move your tent and let other people use them.

…You claim that you support teachers and other publicemployees while attacking the companies and system where those employees’pension funds are invested.

…You claim that laws should apply to everyone – yet fightwith the police when they ask you to leave the park at curfew time.

…You claim that Tea Party members – or “tea baggers”, as youcall them – are violent because they own guns and don’t use them, but you throwrocks and bottles at the duly appointed representatives of the people (thepolice) when they ask you to obey the law.

…You claim to be fighting the good fight against corporateAmerica – while drinking a beverage from Starbucks.

…You claim to be fighting against unemployment, but yourplan is to put the major employers and those who finance them out of business.

…You demand fairness and equality in taxes, yet won’tsupport the flat tax, because it is too fair and equal, instead of being“progressive” and unequal.

…You claim that you are out for justice, then break thelaw any time it makes things inconvenient for you.

…You claim that catching a whiff of tear gas is the sameas being gunned down with real bullets.

…You are hurting small independent local businesses whileclaiming to be protesting the takeover of the economy by big business andcorporate fat cats.

...You claim that people need tostand up and be counted, yet ally with 'Anonymous'". 

Nicholas Dorsey
Nicholas Dorsey

A lot of what you are saying is simply untrue all the way from "trashing the area you protest." until "you ally with anonymous." First off you must not know a lot about Anonymous, They do not ally with anyone. They are a separate entity because they choose to be and they make it clear. After protests we work our ass of to clean the area and leave it in good condition. We only break the law when it goes against morals and the people. You should be worried about the people stealing your retirement and sending this country to war rather than people who break LA city ordinance "failure to disperse." Some of us are getting nailed with bogus crimes, like encroachment, and lynching? That is sick. Just to make us go away? Is that right? And we do not demand anything. I do not have any debts. I work three jobs to pay my own way through college. I do not want a hand out. How does that make me greedy? And its not just me, its most of us. Some of us work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. We just want a better place to live. That is all. It seems that people are so quick to demonize us and the movement but we are people too. Hard working, patriotic, people that just want to not be owned by corporate interests. We pay taxes. We vote. We are American. Stop your hatred, We are fighting for you too. 

Lust 4 Life.
Lust 4 Life.

"Bums Lost" needs an intervention with a rubber bullet to snap him/her out of ideological hate land.  This person obviously has never been to an Occupy camp. 

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

I respectfully disagree. Your comment illustrates what he/ she wrote in the post; you "don’t respect the rights of anyone who doesn’t agree with you" as you actually wish violence upon the human. I have been around occupy campouts and completely agree with "The Bums lost" about the blatant hypocrisy omnipresent within the movement.

Lust 4 Life
Lust 4 Life

What r you talking about?  "Bums Lost"  can spout off about whatever they want.  They are suggesting that Occupiers do not know real bullets.  Ever witnessed someone being shot by a rubber bullet?   

Nicholas Dorsey
Nicholas Dorsey

D'Marie needs to not give herself so much credit. She did not start the occupation in Orange County. Thats why everyone hates her in the first place. She tells people what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. This is occupy, sorry we dont have a screening process for new members.  Im glad Occupy Santa Ana does not have this issue. It seems like there are two irvine occupations. this isnt a club that D'Marie is president of and she did not leave the group, she was thrown out. Its funny how she always seems to have a version of a story that makes her look better.

TheMatrixBust
TheMatrixBust

Nicholas, you contradict yourself. First you say this isn't a club that D'Marie is president and then you say she was thrown out. How do you throw someone out of a leaderless movement? Seems, I remember reading that D'Marie said she wasn't the leader, she was the person who opened the Facebook page for Occupy Orange County @ Irvine, what other people credit her with is not her fault. I've known D'Marie for over five years and if people hate her, its because they listen to rogue gossip and haven't spoken or gotten to know her. Her organizational skills outshine any Operations Manager in Orange County . . . 1,300 people showing up on October 15th for the International Day of Protest was more than enough testament.You all were lucky to have her and instead you insulted her and stabbed her in the back all the while she was working for the good of all involved . . . yeah, even the dirty hippies. Good luck to you all cause you need it. You people are so blind, you would trip over a gold mine and not even know it!

Nicholas Dorsey
Nicholas Dorsey

I did not contradict myself because you do not have to be a leader to be thrown out of the group therefore it is possible to not be a leader and still be thrown out so what I said is correct. No one gives her credit for anything, she is the one that takes the credit. I have seen her say, I am the one that started occupy in orange county in the first place, end quote. That came out of her mouth. You can ride the D'Marie train to wherever you want but forgive us for not going with you. My thoughts and opinions of D'Marie and how she acts is not an illusion. We did not stab her in the back, she was the one that was not getting it. She always ordered people around, telling people what to do. She used to come to Santa Ana , and tell us what to do. Its crazy. So, get your facts right before you come at me wrong, because you are incorrect in your statements. The group is much better off without her. The Tea Party likes leaders, maybe she should try to join them.....

D'Marie Mulattieri
D'Marie Mulattieri

Nicholas, I will repeat although I had phone conversations with Occupy Santa Ana, I have NEVER been to a SA General Assembly. I don't even know where they meet. If you truly believe what you wrote, you have me mixed up with someone else. And to set the facts straight, I am involved in the Occupy movement to the extent that I desire. I wish you well.

Nicholas Dorsey
Nicholas Dorsey

You are wrong. You did come to our G/A one time, and I tried to speak to you, but you blew me off saying, "i cant talk, I have to go.' Then you proceeded to talk to a different group next to me for an hour. Then I saw you again at the city council meeting where you told me to, "watch the way I spoke to my representatives.' I am not a liar and I am certainly not a puppet. Those are just the times I am listing, I have more. If you don't believe me, I know other people who saw you in the times that I am speaking about. In any case, I have never cared what you think/say although you are more than happy to share. Keep your bullshit ass statements to those who believe the garbage that comes out of your mouth. Like I said, The Occupy movement is better without you.

D'Marie
D'Marie

Nicholas Dorsey . . . you are full of hot air. FIrst of all I have NEVER been to a Santa Ana GA and I have never spoken two words to you.  Fact . . . the first time I ever laid eyes on you was at the Scott Walker demonstration and we did not speak and the second time was at Occupy the Courts this past Friday and again we did not speak. Stop being a puppet passing false info. I think that takes care of your statements. Time always reveals the truth and time is on my side.

Kootman
Kootman

I love how 20ftJesus is so concerned about the relatively insifnificant amount of money. Such short-sided small-thinking sums up "Occupy".

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

Maybe the anarchists who took over just wanted to be more "civil disobedient-ier" than thou...

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

I tried to tell you OccuBrandon -- something fishy was going on with the moolah.  For all the secrecy, who knows how much money was actually raised and spent. 

Fullerton Yeah
Fullerton Yeah

This has a "Lord of the Flies" vibe to it. The Beast is inside us all. Rawr.

Lust 4 Life.
Lust 4 Life.

It's like "Lord of the Flies". Yes, it's true.  Let's see if the (O.C. Irvine- Fullerton) camp does any better the second time around.  Are they capable of recognizing the mistakes?  Have they matured as a group? Will they be better at fending off destructive new personalities? Will they still be primarily opposed to all authority and to those that have the courage to step up and lead?  D' Marie is a controversial figure.  I have no idea just how drastic her actions or mistakes were. I don't judge her mistakes however as harshly as those that step back and do nothing except prey on the organizing and responsiveness of others.  Creating order from chaos is no easy task.  Brandon, do not judge Occupy by the camp phases alone.  Occupy has gone mobile, with pockets of forts and rallying points.  Look towards the Santa Ana Federal Building on Jan 20th.at the "Occupy the Courts" rally to "Get money out of Politics"  and "Move to Amend" the "Citizens United" a.k.a. "Corporations United"  federal court ruling to make a better assessment of the Occupy movement here in Orange County.   Stop by "Liberation Plaza" (Broadway and Civic Center) under the fighter jet for a G.A. Wed and Friday Nights 7:45 and Sat. afternoons for Occupy Santa Ana participation to also get an assessment.   Peace.     

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